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United Left Alliance TDs prepare to fight government’s new wave of austerity

Plans announced for a campaign against cuts and budget 2012

The United Left Alliance TDs and steering committee today met to discuss priorities for the ULA in the new Dáil session and the various arenas of struggle the ULA will be engaged in over the coming months against the government’s new wave of austerity.

Joe Higgins TD (ULA – SP Dublin West) said:

“Clear battle lines have been drawn over the Household Tax and future Water and Property taxes. All the forces of the ULA along with others activists on the left, the communities, residents associations and trade unions have taken the first steps in building a mass campaign of non – payment.

“Likewise in the pre- budget period the ULA is seeking to be a catalyst to bring together diverse campaigns and organisations opposed to the failed austerity agenda into a united movement against cuts and for going after the wealth in society. This will take the form initially of a pre budget march in late November. This will be a key step in a more sustained campaign of generalised resistance to this government and the EU/IMF.

“The ULA is also sees itself as a serious contender in the impending Dublin West by-election where our candidate will be Cllr Ruth Coppinger. It, more so than the Presidential election will be a real opportunity for people to cast a verdict on this government.”

Joan Collins TD (ULA – PBP Dublin South Central) said:

“I condemn  the cuts in fuel, electricity and phone allowances approved by the Fine Gael/ Labour.  Especially with weather experts predicting an extremely cold winter again this year.

“It is a disgrace that a Labour Minister is implementing the cuts when 300,000 people are already in arrears with electricity and gas bills.  It is yet another example of those who can least afford it bearing the cost of the EU/ IMF austerity programme, these cuts make a mockery of the statements by Kenny and Gilmore that Social Welfare payments would not be cut.”

Clare Daly TD (ULA – SP Dublin North) said:

“The government is wholly intent on going along with the demands of the IMF in privatising billions of state assets. The ULA will be the champions of semi state workers. Rather than privatising we see an expansion of state led enterprise as a key plank in addressing unemployment. 

“However while the ULA will be unstinting in its opposition to privatisation the key to successfully resisting this disastrous policy lies with the workers themselves and I can pledge my support in advance to any action they take to defend their jobs and conditions.”

Seamus Healy TD (ULA – WUAG Tipperary South & West Waterford) said :

“As far as the government is concerned there is unfinished business with  regard to their attacks on lower paid private sector workers. Legislation on JLCs promised by the government threatens to axe Sunday pay. This is a scandal for which the Labour Party has a case to answer for this and the derogation on contract workers Minister Bruton has proposed at the behest of the employers.

“The ULA will be the most consistent champions of low paid workers in the Dáil and in the workplaces themselves where will have already provided advice to low paid workers about how they can protect their wages and conditions if the government force through a law change.”

Richard Boyd Barrett TD (ULA – PBP Dun Laoghaire) said:

“Since the financial crisis hit, we have said time and time again that the policy of bailing out banks and bondholders with austerity and cuts imposed on ordinary people will not only cause immense suffering but will worsen the economic crisis it is supposed to cure. This analysis has been confirmed by many leading economist and analysts, and has been most recently affirmed by the UNCTAD report which has stated bluntly that continued austerity will prolong and deepen the economic crisis and quite likely propel us towards a permanent recession.

“You don’t have to be an economic expert to see this. A child could work it out – If you slash jobs and income and abandon investment you contract the economy and accelerate the downward spiral. The evidence that this is what is happening is visible in every city, town and village across the country, with more businesses and jobs being lost daily. If the government continue along the crazy path being dictated by the EU-IMF and the so-called ‘markets’ and take another €11 billion out of the economy over the next few years to pay off bankers debts  they will decimate the economy and do immense social damage.

“We need a major fight and movement of people power in this country like that occurring in Greece, Spain and elsewhere to resist this economic madness and to demand that jobs, services and the interests of society are put ahead of the greed and stupidity of bankers, speculators and their political mouthpieces. It is to that end that the ULA will be dedicating itself over the coming months.”     

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